Dear Vogue Italia: Where are the Models of Color (The African Ones)

vogueitalia-1It’s the modelicious cover seen everywhere and chances are that your favorite supeermodels are on the cover of Vogue Italia’s 5oth Anniverary Issue which also doubles up as their September Cover. I see some of my favorites models of color like Naomi Campbell, Liya Kebede, Joan Smalls, Cyndi Bruna, Jourdan Dunn and Anais Mali, and I applaud them for their inclusion in this very important cover.

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vogueitalia-2But as an Africa Woman, dear Vogue Italia, I can’t help but wonder or feel that some really, really important African High Fashion models were excluded (never mind that Liya Kebede was there).

I will start with the one and only top supermodel Iman. If the magazine is going to return classic favorites like Christy Turlington, then Iman should be there. Ok fine, maybe Iman is in the distant past a bit, but she is still fabulous and will trump any of the models they featured any day, any time.

Alright, if not Iman, then let’s go to the present: Kenyan Malaika Firth is absent, her significance alone, with being the first black model to star in a Prada campaign since  Naomi Campbell nearly 20 years ago, ought to have been enough to land her on this cover.

I am just calling it for what I see because I actually like Vogue Italia and how they try to think of Africa or Black people in all that they do (see Nigeria’s elite model competition going on this September on the front page of their site now), but this cover is a fail in my opinion, at least in it’s lack of portrayal of black reigning models, the likes of Ajak Deng, Nykhor, Grace Mahary, Imaan Hammam to name a few.

I know they cannot portray everyone, and I applaud them for portraying the ones they could, which is why I think if no one else, then Malaika Firth should have been front and center, after all she is the reigning super model of African descent, the editorials she books and the runway shows she appears on, should be enough proof.

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